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FINAL BOWL PROJECTIONS; AN UNEXPECTED GOTW
November 28, 2006

SCS.comThe two best stories in college football this year come from two teams that faced off last weekend. The Rice Owls (7-5) started the season by losing their first four games. Dale Lloyd, a former defensive back for Rice, died the Monday after their fourth loss. The Owls tore up the rest of their schedule, winning 7 out of 8 games to finish the year. The seventh win locked up their first bowl bid since 1961, as they beat Southern Methodist 31-27. SMU (6-6), meanwhile, is still in the running to receive a bowl bid. The Mustangs have not been to a bowl since 1984. They have survived the death penalty handed to them by the NCAA in 1987, the harshest punishment in NCAA history. Loss of a season, scholarships, practices, and home games were all involved in the penalty. However, Coach Phil Bennett has led his team to a .500 season, and the future has never been brighter for the Mustangs.

In other action, Southern California has all but locked up a trip to the national title game. Their dominating win over rival Notre Dame put them at number two in the BCS standings, and a win over UCLA will send them to Glendale, Arizona. As for Notre Dame, their BCS hopes are still in question. The Irish's only two losses came to top five teams, but they don't have a signature win. Other teams such as LSU, Auburn, Louisville, and Virginia Tech have valid arguments as well.

I have to applaud Boise State for locking up a BCS bowl bid, most likely the Fiesta, after beating Nevada 38-7. Replacing Coach Dan Hawkins was a daunting task. However, Chris Peterson has done a great job keeping the Broncos motivated throughout the season. Boise State impressed WAC commissioner Karl Benson who attending last weekend's game. "This is the most dominant team in WAC history," he said afterwards. Boise State's win was a victory for another team as well. San Jose State will be bowling for the first time since 1990 due to the Boise State victory.

FINAL BOWL PROJECTIONS

DATE BOWL MATCHUP
Dec. 19 Poinsettia TCU vs. Arizona
Dec. 21 Las Vegas UCLA vs. BYU
Dec. 22 New Orleans East Carolina vs. Troy
Dec. 23 New Mexico New Mexico vs. San Jose State
Dec. 23 PapaJohns.com Rice vs. USF
Dec. 23 Armed Forces Utah vs. Tulsa
Dec. 24 Hawaii Hawaii vs. Arizona State
Dec. 26 Motor City Central Michigan vs. Middle Tennessee
Dec. 27 Emerald Oregon vs. Clemson
Dec. 27 Independence Oklahoma State vs. Alabama
Dec. 28 Holiday Texas A&M vs. California
Dec. 28 Texas Texas vs. Rutgers
Dec. 29 Champs Sports Boston College vs. Purdue
Dec. 29 Music City Kentucky vs. Florida State
Dec. 29 Sun Oregon State vs. Missouri
Dec. 29 Insight Minnesota vs. Kansas
Dec. 30 Alamo Iowa vs. Kansas State
Dec. 30 Liberty Houston vs. South Carolina
Dec. 30 Meineke Car Care Maryland vs. Navy
Dec. 30 Chick-fil-A Georgia vs. Virginia Tech
Dec. 31 MPC Computers Nevada vs. Miami
Jan. 1 Gator Wake Forest vs. West Virginia
Jan. 1 Cotton Nebraska vs. Auburn
Jan. 1 Outback Penn State vs. Tennessee
Jan. 1 Capital One Arkansas vs. Wisconsin
Jan. 1 Rose [BCS] Michigan vs. LSU
Jan. 1 Fiesta [BCS] Boise State vs. Oklahoma
Jan. 2 Orange [BCS] Louisville vs. Georgia Tech
Jan. 3 Sugar [BCS] Florida vs. Notre Dame
Jan. 6 International Western Michigan vs. Cincinnati
Jan. 7 GMAC Southern Miss vs. Ohio
Jan. 8 *BCS TITLE* Southern Cal vs Ohio State

WHO'S HOT

  • USC - Who can be hotter than a team that dominated its highly-ranked rival and has punched its ticket to Glendale? Sorry UCLA, I just do not see an upset this coming weekend. Did you watch Dwayne Jarrett catch three touchdown passes against Notre Dame? Good luck stopping him.

  • Oklahoma - After Texas A&M upset rival Texas, Oklahoma was given a simple and clear path to the Big 12 title game. OU squeaked by Oklahoma State to reach a highly-anticipated game against Nebraska. The winner should earn a Fiesta Bowl bid, giving mid-major Boise State a tough test.

  • Wake Forest - Wake showed that it was ready to put their Boston College loss behind them and prove to America that they belonged in the BCS. Wake Forest beat Maryland on the road to secure a spot in the ACC title game. Coach of the year? No doubt in my mind that Deacons head coach Jim Grobe deserves this honor. Hurry up and give it to him.

  • Michigan State - I applaud the hire of Mark Dantonio by the Michigan State Spartans. He leaves the head coaching gig at Cincinnati, where he recorded a seven win season this year. Dantonio was at Michigan State as an assistant, then left for Ohio State where he won a national championship. The last time an Ohio State assistant left to coach a Michigan school, it had great results (Bo Schembechler).

  • Troy - If Troy can beat Florida International this weekend, they will lock up an automatic bowl berth. Troy quarterback Omar Haugabook threw two touchdown passes in the final 2:20 to give the Trojans a win over conference foe Middle Tennessee State, who may also find themselves in a bowl due to the lack of production from the Big Ten.

    WHO'S NOT

  • West Virginia - WVU cost themselves a chance at BCS bowl when they were upset at home by South Florida. Pat White and Steve Slaton where held in check, while USF freshman quarterback Matt Grothe ripped the WVU defense to shreds. They can play spoiler when they host Rutgers to end the season.

  • Florida State - Firing Jeff Bowden failed to show any immediate impacts at Florida State. In a 21-14 loss to rival Florida, FSU's play calling was very questionable. Constant deep routes led to 3-and-outs and 3 interceptions by the Florida defense. Maybe Bobby Bowden is the real problem.

  • Georgia Tech - Calvin Johnson is the best wide receiver in college football. Nevertheless, until he gets a quarterback who can get him the ball constantly and accurately, he will never reach his full potential as a Yellow Jacket. This was very evident in GT's loss to rival Georgia. Need proof? Ball was 6 for 22 with 2 interceptions and no touchdowns.

  • Oregon - Maybe USC's dominating win over Oregon was not as impressive as it first seemed. Oregon has lost their last three games to end a season that started with promise thanks to four straight wins. Blame it on the uniforms.

  • UTEP - UTEP lost five out of its last six games to end the season, losing a chance to go bowling for the third time in a row. The Miners showed a lack of determination in the season finale, losing to lowly Memphis 38-19.

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